Map Board, British WWI 1914 (FLITEC144)
Here is a hard-to-find WWI-era Map Board used by British aviators during WWI. A linen map roll would be installed on the brass rollers and wound across the wood panel along with the flight path of the aircraft. The board would be fastened to the thigh of the aviator using the leather strap.
According to collector George Fulford's notes:
I bid on one of these years ago and didn't get it. Eventually, this one came up and had to pay lots as I wanted to add historical depth to this collection.
This item oozes open cockpit bi-planes with its brass and wood construction, and it's easy to imaging the Observer scrolling his map and checking points referring to the miniature, but still very functional compass. On the reverse side is a graduated inclinometer that is activated by pushing in a knob release. This suggests that an interesting distant target could, after landing, be worked out with simple trigonometry of altitude and angle from a point. The name J.N. Pratt is engraved on the brass, and I suspect this was the Observer's name as the maker's name is different and below it. I wonder if J.N. Pratt survived the war, thought I doubt it. Those heroic aircrew's lives were measured in weeks, not years.